TNT priming up consensus top pick Moala Tautuaa as an answer to June Mar Fajardo
Moala Tautuaa is expected to add youth and size to Talk 'N Text. Czar Dancel

JUNE Mar Fajardo has now become the yardstick among PBA teams, so much so just about every ballclub is on the lookout for someone who can match up with the young San Miguel big man.

Talk ‘N Text hopes Moala Tautuaa would perfectly fit the bill.

The Tropang Texters are ready to make the agile, 6-foot-7 Fil-Tongan as the top pick in this year’s PBA Rookie Draft set Sunday at Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila.

Tautuaa was already projected to be the No. 1 pick even before he applied for the draft, although National University’s Troy Rosario has been making a big push of late owing to his solid performance with the Gilas cadets team in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore and with Manila North which finished runner-up in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters.

“Every team wants a big man as an answer to June Mar kaya we’re going for Tautuaa,” said an official from the Manny V. Pangilinan group, who refused to be named pending the official announcement of the selection on draft day.

“Of course, not unless something crops up (at the last minute),” added the same official.

The US-born cager won’t be around for the draft proceedings – along with Rosario – as both are with the Gilas Pilipinas team that wrapped up a stint in a pocket tournament in Estonia late Saturday night.

Tautuaa and Rosario are the only two rookies included by coach Tab Baldwin in the national team training pool currently preparing for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.

Other than matching up with the 6-foot-10 Fajardo, Tautuaa’s presence at Talk ‘N Text would also add youth and zest to an already ageing Tropang Texters’ frontcourt.

“Some of our bigs are no longer young as you can see,” said the same source, mentioning the likes of veterans Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams, Harvey Carey, Aron Aban, and Rob Reyes.

Likewise, the move to deal big man Jay Washington to Globalport in exchange for point guard Denok Miranda meant the team is already reserving a spot for Tautuaa.

“I think it’s an open secret na rin naman,” said the official of the franchise’s plan to use the No. 1 pick on the former Cebuana Lhuillier center.

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